Carnival Corp has agreed a $20 mill deal with US federal prosecutors as settlement for charges that it violated its probation.
US District Court Judge Patricia Seitz ordered top Carnival Corp executives, including board chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald, to appear in court on 3rd June for a probation revocation hearing.
The US Office of Probation filed a motion for probation violations after the Court Appointed Monitor found cases of Carnival ships continuing to violate environmental laws.
As part of the deal, Carnival will allow more stringent oversight by the Court Appointed Monitor, create an action plan for compliance and create a position of Chief Compliance Officer within the company.
If the company misses agreed deadlines, it will be fined up to $1 mill per day and up to $10 mill per day if deadlines are missed by 10 days.
Carnival has also agreed to reduce its use of single-use plastics by 50% by 2020 and has committed $20 mill to improve its food waste management programme.
Carnival was on probation as a result of a 2017 guilty plea by Princess Cruise Lines to seven felony counts arising out of pollution from the ‘Caribbean Princess’ and efforts to conceal that pollution, one count of conspiracy, four counts of failure to maintain accurate records and two counts of obstruction of justice.
Judge Seitz published the previously confidential Monitor’s report in April. In the 205-page report, the Monitor recorded hundreds of incidents from April, 2017 to April, 2018.
After reviewing the incidents, the Miami Herald reported that 24 of the incidents recorded were for illegally dumping sewage, food waste or oil; 19 were for illegally burning heavy fuel oil in protected areas; and more than 150 were the result of items,such as furniture, accidentally going overboard. Carnival reported these violations to authorities directly or noted them in its internal records.
Environmental lobby group, Stand.earth called the ruling a backroom deal with little regard for the communities and individuals who are impacted by cruise ship pollution.
Ahead of last week’s hearing, the organisation had supported the filing of an emergency motion on behalf of alleged victims to intervene in the proceeding. The presiding judgeallowed the victims’ legal counsel to speak at the hearing but ultimately decided the victims did not have standing under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
“Today’s ruling was a betrayal of the public trust and a continuation of the weak enforcement that has allowed Carnival Corp to continue to profit by selling the environment to its passengers, while its cruise ships contribute to the destruction of the fragile ecosystems they visit,” claimed Kendra Ulrich, Stand.earth’s Senior Shipping Campaigner.